Tennessee State University officials have confirmed that a professor was terminated over video evidence showing him screaming at a student after they failed his course, according to reports.
History professor Robert Evins Pickard was captured on video shouting obscenities into a student’s face before dismissing them from class.
In a widely shared video, Pickard can be heard shouting “What is your name?” and “Get out! You have failed this course, whatever it may be! Out!” He later adds that Pickard had made up his mind: he wanted out! Out! Out! Out!”
On Tuesday, the university issued a statement acknowledging it had taken “swift action including personnel action” to address the incident and terminate Pickard from his position on staff.
“TSU does not tolerate unprofessional behavior in its classrooms or anywhere else directed towards students,” the statement reads.
“The University is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive academic atmosphere for all students. This incident falls short of our expectation that those responsible for teaching must act with integrity as role models for our students,” they stated.
In his statement to WSMV, Pickard indicated he had retired following the incident.
“I deeply regret what occurred in class. I became angry and did something I should never have done,” he admitted to the TV station.
“I have been under tremendous stress recently, and I was becoming frustrated with students who pay attention to their phones or laptops instead of studying, then wonder why their grades are low. However, that does not excuse my behavior; I apologized to the students and offered my resignation; as planned, I am now retiring as well. Please respect my privacy – it is over now.”
Students who shared the viral video on Twitter said Pickard often yells at his students in a similar tone.
One Twitter user who reposted the clip wrote, “This professor at Tennessee State University apparently talks to students like this all of the time. Something needs to be done.”